Around the year 1990, there existed a famous eatery at Ibrahimpura, Bhopal called the Hotel Madina. The legendary hotel served awesome non-vegetarian fair like biryani, boti kababs, bun kababs and bhuna ghost during the evenings. Such was their popularity that they used to sell out within an hour, as Bhopal lapped up the authentic taste of traditional food.
The simple owners of Hotel Madina never considered making more stuff to increase their profits. As the older generation handed over the reins of the hotel to the generation next, the lights started fading during the troubled days of Babri Masjid. This legendary hotel was eventually shut down, probably sometime in 1995.
To fill this gap, the narrow lane (gali, in Hindi), where existed the legendary Hotel Madina, started being filled up with small upstart eateries. Most of them perished trying to reach the heights of Hotel Madina, and many more started converting into roadside indistinct non-vegetarian joints, which could be found anywhere in India.
This small bylane, still officially called Gali Madina Hotel Wali, is today known as Chatori Gali Bhopal.
If you are coming from the Moti Masjid towards Budhwara, keep an eye towards the right hand side of the road for a crowded bylane with multiple food joints, in business during the evenings. As you enter this small bylane, you are greeted by brightly lit outlets with very colorful non-vegetarian items being displayed prominently towards your left hand side.
This is the outlet of Mustaq Khan, named the New Mustaq Chicken Corner. A wide range of dishes are available here. Mustaq sahab claims to be the oldest man around in Chatori Gali, although he does not know about the Madina Hotel.
Across the New Mustaq Chicken Corner, is a small kiosk of the once legendary, melt in mouth, Bun Kababs of Chatori Gali. However, the quality of the bun kababs have suffered a major setback. The rubbery, ill-cooked bun kabab served was not up to the mark. Jhilli miyan has disappeared, with his art of bun kababs !
What remains at Chatori gali is the old and faithful Hotel Ghazala. Run by brothers Haji Shahnawaz Ahmed and Haji Sharif Ahmed (9229998601, 9229874646, 9179338000, 9893655686), the low profile Hotel Ghazala remains the only source of decent food at Chatori Gali today.
In earlier days, when chicken was almost unheard of in Bhopal, the favorite bird used to be the Bater (Quail), freshly hunted from the nearby jungles by hunters of Bhopal. Hotel Gazala still serves this once favorite bird of Bhopal. The Bater (quail) Musallam, which uses shah jeera, among other spices, is served with a special kulcha, and is available after 7PM.
The special kulcha at Hotel Ghazala is prepared with refined flour, sugar and milk. This slightly sweet kulcha makes a great combination with the thick and peppery stew full of soft meat of Bater.
Also on the menu are unusual names like gobhi ghost, tamatar ghost and Nalli Nahari, claimed to be cooked by Delhi cooks.
How to reach: Go straight from the former Lily Talkies keeping lower lake (chota talab) to your left. Cross Thana Talaiya and the budhwara masjid. Towards your left is the small bylane called chatori gali.